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the two different societies in which Meursault and Grenouille live in turn them into outsiders. An outsider is a person who does not fit what the society considers being normal when it comes to way of life and characters. Suskind and Camus uses the characteristics of Meursault and Grenouille help us understand why society turns people to outsiders. There are two different societies in consideration; Meursault's society which was during 1940 in Algeria and Grenouille's society in the eighteenth century in France.
A society makes certain individuals outsiders because they don't fit the normal spectrum. This means the individual has characteristics that are considered 'abnormal' by majority of people. This are characteristics that people are not accustomed to and this characteristics don't necessary need to be negative ones; like Meursault, from the novel The Outsider, who was made an outsider because of his degree of honesty. In Meursault's society being normal involves being sensitive. It is normal for someone to be sensitive towards death and love. They feel that people should show some kind of pain towards a supposed love one's death. Being normal also involves believing in God; being able to feel grief for doing a wrong did and then asking for forgiveness.
In the Outsider, the protagonist, Meursault is considered an outsider due to his peculiar characteristics. Meursault appears to have an indifferent attitude as he lacks any emotions towards his mother's death because he considers it to be normal. "Mother died today. Or yesterday, I don't know. I had a telegram from home: 'mother passed away. Funeral tomorrow. Yours sincerely.' That doesn't mean anything. It may have been yesterday."  The lack of emotions shown about his mother's death shows his indifferent attitude. Even during his mother's funeral he shows no emotions all he does is complains; "I was so tired"  , "the glare from the sky was unbearable"  . When others felt sorrowful towards the death of his mother, he hadn't the slightest idea to do the same or acknowledge those who felt the grief; "Great tears of frustration and anguish were streaming down his cheeks"  . He lacked the common sense to associate Perez tires to his mother's death; instead he links it to frustration. "After that everything happened so quickly and seemed so inevitable and natural that I don't remember any of it anymore."  This shows how normal his mother's death was to him. In the novel Perfume Grenouille is the main character that his society considers to be an outsider due to his characteristics.
Grenouille is also indifferent. He is self-centred and he always tries to satisfy himself at the expense of others. When he killed the plum girl, he felt no remorse for his actions; instead he didn't want her sent to leave. "When she was dead he laid her on the ground among the plum pits, tore off her dress, and the stream of sent became a flood that inundated him with fragrance."  Her death brings him fragrance and not sorrow. His thoughts are filled with her sent "He did not want to spill a drop of her sent"  , but never about what he had done wrong. Grenouille's indifferent attitude is shown as the death of the plum girl gives him happiness and shapes his future "he felt as if he finally knew who he really was: nothing less than a genius. And that the meaning and goal and purpose of his life and a higher destiny: nothing less than to revolutionize the world."  This shows how Grenouille only thinks about himself and does not consider anything that pleases him as wrong.
In both Perfume and The Outsider, the society makes Meursault and Grenouille outsiders for their indifference. To Meursault's society, a person who lacks emotion during his mother's funeral is cruel and has qualities of a criminal. "The warden looked down at his boots and said that I hadn't wanted to see mother. I hadn't cried once and I had left straight after the funeral without paying my respects at her grave."  The society, in which The Outsider is set in, judges Meursault based on his actions. Instead of actually analysing the crime and reasons that lead to the crime, they use his indifferent characteristic, which is not on their normal spectrum, to justify his capability of committing such a crime out of cruelty. To Meursault death appears to be a part of nature which is inevitable, especially for someone his mother's age and if he doesn't feel the urge to cry that shouldn't make him evil. However because it is so unusual to his society he is therefore considered cruel.
From the beginning of the novel, Perfume, Grenouille was abandoned by his mother to die. He was never shown love by his mother as he lead to her death and the "abominable"  boy was also left to die. Other people in his society never showed him love due to his lack of sent which they considered to be abnormal. Right from when he was a baby, people kept on rejecting him as he was transferred from one wet nurse to another because he didn't have a scent. "He's possessed by the devil"  , "His soil smells, that's true enough. But it's the bastard himself, he doesn't smell."  . "From his youth on, he had been accustomed to people passing him and taking no notice of him whatever, not out of contempt-as he had once believed-but because they were quit unaware of his existence."  Grenouille's lack of scent meant he didn't have an identity and is treated like part of the atmosphere. The lack of love and warmth from his society provokes his isolation, which allows him to realise his obsession for scent. Thus, the society is revealed as part of the reason for him being an outsider.
In Meursault's society, the fact that he lacked remorse for killing the Arab and his atheism makes the society turn him into an outsider-as it is abnormal to them for someone to feel like that-so they criticised him. "He told me that it is impossible, that all men believed in God, even those who wouldn't face up to Him"  . "he asked me in the same rather weary manner whether I regretted what I had done. I thought it over and said that, rather than true regret, I felt a kind of annoyance"  Meursault not feeling true regret made it easy for the society to classify him under a true criminal and even other criminals felt regret towards their action. They are not accepted in their society because they don't have what people consider being essential for a normal person to have.
Meursault appears to be honest when justifying his criminal act. Though his declaration of his crime sounds honest, the reader cannot ignore the arrogant way he in which he declares his guilt. The arrogance of his declaration depicts his character as cold-blooded in the sense that the death of a person has no real significance. He is blunt and doesn't feel the need to lie "Mixing up my words a bit and realising I sounded ridiculous, I said quickly that it was because of the sun. Some people laughed. My lawyer shrugged his shoulders"  . On the other hand, Grenouille's honesty has a degree of naivety as he does not seem truly aware of his actions or their repercussions. He did not deny killing the girls "because the accused himself freely confessed to all the murders charged against him"  . In Grenouille's case it was obvious that he had killed the girls. He killed them for his own use and he wouldn't tell what he needed them for.
Finally both Grenouille and Meursault are treated as outsiders in their society and this is because of their qualities. In our modern society things might have been a little different but the fact still remains that humans don't change much. This is because both Grenouille and Meursault lived in different societies and these societies made them outsiders based on their characters. In our society things have changed a little bit because people read more literature books which helps widen the normal spectrum and people are more open minded.
However there are still large numbers of people who are made outsiders because they don't fit the normal spectrum. Even a very honest person, like Meursault, can still be made an outsider by our modern society because people lie to protect themselves but if someone chooses to say the truth and get in trouble people will not flock with that person. This two books show that society doesn't change much through time because from the eighteenth century to the twenty first century society still makes individuals outsiders based on their characters.